Cheese, Please!

Cheese, Please!

Jim Weinschreider was trained as a mechanical engineer, but reality set in when he and his wife, Joanne, started a family. Joanne already had a demanding career as a nurse, training at the nursing simulator at St. John Fisher College.

The decision was made, Jim would be the stay-at-home father, watching the growing brood of three children, ages 8, 5 and 3. Paying day care for three young ones would not be practical for this Marion couple.

Jim became a bit restless between all the child chasing, potty breaks and regular housework required of the one on the home front. He could not recall if it was something he read in his spare time, but the idea was born. Why not utilize the family’s 27 acre property for the production of cheese.

Thinking outside the box, in 2011, Blue Moon Bend Creamery LLC was born. Jim realized that there was a market for hand-crafted artisanal cheeses. With limited land, and thinking cows traipsing around the homestead were too big for the idea of sustainable farming methods, Jim and Joanne opted for goats.

Goats were much smaller, so the size was compatible with his children. In addition, with the cyclical nature of breeding, milking and land use, goats were the perfect match. Seventeen does, three bucks for breeding and a number of up and coming kids (baby goats), provided all the stock the Blue Moon spread would need.

Following national and state strict standards, Jim constructed the perfect operation, avoiding costly pre-manufactured equipment. Schedules for milking and processing the herd during the late Spring and Summer season were developed.

With kids born in Spring, allowed to feed off their mothers for several weeks, extra milking could begin within two to three weeks. By two months the kids were weaned and the milk was totally dedicated to the cheese process.

Jim proudly boasts that all their goats are GMO (Genetically Modified Organism) free. Animals are rotationally-grazed and free from hormones, or other supplements.

By Fall, the season is over and the Winter months are used for watching, caring for the next herd development and caring for the aging cheeses in the  “cave”, the  temperature controlled 50º room where the maturing process takes place.

During the winter months, cow milk is imported from a Marion family farm to offset and add to the cheese selection Blue Moon offers.

Popular cheeses Jim and Joanne produce include chevre, a creamy lactic curd; feta, a cheese with a more salty, brine flavor; tomme, an Alpine cheese a bit more subtle than Swiss made from cow’s milk; brie, a white rind, fresher tasting cheese and fresh mozzarella.

The Blue Moon cheeses are sold at local farmer’s markets and the new Hart’s Grocers in Rochester. Last week, at the NY State Fair, the Weinschreider’s work paid off with two silver medals. You can follow the family business at farm@bluemoonbend.com

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